×

Land for a Foreigner

A rich tapestry of Syrian culture and history rendered dull by an overlong treatment, "Land for a Foreigner" extols the life and thought of enlightened philosopher Abdul Rahman Kawakibi (1849-1902), who set the moral tone in Aleppo under the Ottoman empire. Targeted at those with a special interest in Arab culture, this 2-1/2-hour pic needs serious trimming to reach more general fest and video audiences.

A rich tapestry of Syrian culture and history rendered dull by an overlong treatment, “Land for a Foreigner” extols the life and thought of enlightened philosopher Abdul Rahman Kawakibi (1849-1902), who set the moral tone in Aleppo under the Ottoman empire. Targeted at those with a special interest in Arab culture, this 2-1/2-hour pic needs serious trimming to reach more general fest and video audiences.

In Kawakibi (played with dignified charm by Bassam Koussa), director Samir Zikra (“Chronicle of Last Year”) constructs an admirable figure whose intellectual and spiritual ideals have a modern, liberal ring. A revered teacher who reads Voltaire and Rousseau and speaks Persian and Turkish as well as Arabic, he uses his erudition and social standing to fight for common people against the injustice of local governors. His alignment with the Turkish sultan saves his neck several times. Pic teems with extras and has solid local production values.

Land for a Foreigner

Syria

  • Production: A General Cinema Organization production. Directed, written by Samir Zikra.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Hanna Ward; editor, Zouheir Al-Daya; music, Gerard Raissian. Reviewed at Carthage Film Days (competing), Tunisia, Oct. 21, 2000. Original title: Torab al-ghoraba. Running time: 147 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Bassam Koussa, Najwa Kandakji, Fayez Abou Dan, Iman Al-Ghouri.